Gumbo Limbo Coastal Stewards (GLCS) Hosts ‘Winter Wishes Celebration’ at Manatee Lagoon in West Palm Beach on Dec. 21st

Gumbo Limbo Coastal Stewards

John Holloway

Dr. Jeanette Wyneken

Steve McCulloch

Event will Feature Conservation Experts, ‘Coastal Stewards of the Year’ Awards Presentation, Lego Competition for Kids, and More

Our mission for 2024 is to capture the essence of turning dreams and wishes into tangible actions that lead to positive change and inspiration.”

— John Holloway, CEO & President, Coastal Stewards

BOCA RATON, FL, UNITED STATES, November 28, 2023 / — The Gumbo Limbo Coastal Stewards (Coastal Stewards), a nonprofit conservation organization involved in the preservation, rescue, rehabilitation, research and release of marine life, is hosting a Winter Wishes Celebration on Thursday, December 21, 2023 from 5 to 7:30 p.m. at Manatee Lagoon (6000 North Flagler Drive) in West Palm Beach. The family-friendly event will feature presentations by marine life conservation experts dubbed “Experts in the Round”; an awards presentation honoring the local unsung heroes of coastal conservation; and a Coastal Stewards Lego Competition designed for kids ages 5 to 16.

· Experts in the Round: Some of the foremost experts in the field of ecosystems and marine life conservation will come together to discuss the various components of marine life conservation, discussing critical issues such as habitat preservation, species protection, and sustainable management practices. Participating panelists include:

o Dr. Jeanette Wyneken: Dr. Wyneken is a professional biologist and morphologist with interests in ecology, physiology, behavior, and conservation, and has studied marine turtles for the past 30 years. As the Director of the FAU Marine Lab, Dr. Wyneken works with the Gumbo Limbo Environmental Complex to maximize effectiveness in communicating science to the public while coordinating with the principal investigators and students. She also teaches, conducts research, and mentors scientists of the future.

o Stephen McCulloch: McCulloch has more than four decades of experience and is one of the few professionals to have worked for decades with both the marine mammal zoological industry and conservation research communities around the world. His broad understanding of today’s issues and his global perspective enable him to offer singularly creative solutions to meet the demands of an ever-changing seascape. McCulloch has played pivotal roles in the successful rehabilitation, native reintroduction, and post-release monitoring of numerous whales, dolphins, and pinnipeds. McCulloch’s current focus is on improving health and welfare of marine mammals in human care, conservation of wild populations, and support for global stranding networks.

o Dr. Thomas Reinert: Dr. Reinert is the South Regional Director for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), the state’s Fish and Wildlife agency. FWC’s South Region consists of 10 counties in south Florida, including the majority of the Everglades ecosystem, Lake Okeechobee, the Florida Keys, and the entirety of Florida’s coral reef complex. Dr. Reinert spent 11 years as a Research Administrator for FWC in the Manatee Rescue and Recovery Program, supervising manatee field staff across the state. The program is responsible for research, rescue, and carcass recovery of the federally listed Florida manatee.

· Awards Presentation: The Coastal Stewards will honor the unsung heroes of coastal conservation at its inaugural “Coastal Stewards of the Year” awards presentation. This special event is dedicated to recognizing individuals and organizations whose tireless efforts have made a significant impact on the preservation and promotion of ecosystems and marine life.

· Coastal Stewards Lego Competition: The “Brick by Brick: Coastal Stewardship LEGO Challenge” invites all LEGO enthusiasts and eco-advocates to dive into the world of creativity and conservation. This unique competition invites builders from 5-16 years of age to craft LEGO creations that embody the spirit of coastal stewardship, focusing on the vital ecosystems and marine life that call the South Florida coastlines home. Builds will be voted on at the event and will be judged on creativity, originality, and the clarity of the coastal stewardship message. Prizes will be awarded in each age group.

“By attending this celebration, guests will be contributing to our mission of preserving and protecting our coastal ecosystems while being educated on the fragile environments vital to marine life, specifically sea turtles and manatees,” said John Holloway, CEO & President, Coastal Stewards. “Our mission for 2024 is to capture the essence of turning dreams and wishes into tangible actions that lead to positive change and inspiration. Together, we can make a difference and ensure a sustainable future for generations to come.”

Guests at the Winter Wishes Celebration will also enjoy delectable cuisine, sip on festive cocktails, and celebrate together to support South Florida’s beautiful coastal environment. There will also be raffles, swag bags, and live music. Tickets to the Winter Wishes Celebration are $75 per adult and $20 per child. Reserve tickets by visiting

About Gumbo Limbo Coastal Stewards

Coastal Stewards was established in 2012 as Friends of Gumbo Limbo and is an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that sponsors marine life conservation. The mission of Coastal Stewards is to inspire people to support the stewardship and research of coastal and marine ecosystems. In 2023, GLCS expanded its focus on the rescue, rehabilitation, research and release of sea turtles to incorporate marine life including seagrass, dolphins, manatees and whales. Learn more at

Melissa Perlman
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Article originally published on as Gumbo Limbo Coastal Stewards (GLCS) Hosts ‘Winter Wishes Celebration’ at Manatee Lagoon in West Palm Beach on Dec. 21st

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